December, 2011 Archive

Friday, December 30, 2011

scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

It’s a fairly accurate indication of how charmed my life is these days that I considered the act of having to choose what I would make to bring to a New Years Party tomorrow difficult. If makes you wonder what I’d consider easy — which spa gift certificate I should use first to get a manicure before the party? Whether I should wear the earrings from this year’s or last year’s little blue box to the party? Which jet to take there? It’s all in a day of the glamorous life of a food blogger. Ahem.

scallions, greens, bottles of stuff
meatball ingredients, ready to mix

In the last year, I’ve made a lot of jabs, mostly in my own direction, about how much various projects that I thought I’d handle like a pro have in fact kicked my ass — in order, those would be: a toddler, a cookbook, trying to have evenings and weekends work-free for Fun Family Things (even if they’re, like, “Let’s go buy mama more conditioner and eat warm pretzels along the way!”) and this weird blend of feeling like I have absolutely no time for myself while also spending too much time by myself. We are definitely not going to discuss how many hours I have spent this year wondering how anyone ever gets dinner on the table/keeps an apartment clean/gets any sleep/takes vacations… all while looking cute. Nope, definitely not that either. But if you could read through the self-deprecation and exhaustion, I always hoped you’d figure out that I was, am, totally blissed out by this life I ended up with. This gig — 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, this beast and all — is pretty sweet and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I hope next year involves more of the same, with a little more travel and a lot more hanging out with people like you.

frying and spattering, ow

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

left to cool and set

I took a Home Economics class in the 7th grade. I probably don’t need to tell you how stoked I was about this (especially after nearly flunking Wood Shop the semester before with the saddest “toolbox” ever) although I am fairly certain they failed at whatever household management skills they’d hoped to impress on my 12-year-old self. I’m currently staring down a particularly fetid sinkful of dishes, willing them to wash themselves, while deep creases form in a towering basket of clean laundry that has yet to be folded, though perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for the next generation. Nevertheless, the one class I remember perfectly was the one in which we made a puffy muffin embodiment of butter-slathered, sugar broiled cinnamon toast. It could be whipped up in no time, presumably along with a stack of bacon while wearing a gown-like robe and fuzzy slippers to the delight of sleepy-eyed children tumbling down the stairs. (Sorry, my housewife archetype is firmly etched in the Brady Bunch era.)

freshly grated nutmeg
batter

These pastries are, amusingly, called French Breakfast Puffs, I presume they are “French” in the way that French Toast and French Fries are, or that I convince myself I am every time I order Lillet, which is to say, dubiously. Their origin, however — the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens– isn’t half as interesting as their flavor, which is a little bit snickerdoodle, a little bit butter cake and a lot of addictiveness. My first thought upon eating one in class that day was “It’s like a doughnut hole!” and my second was “Why hasn’t my mother ever made these for me? I thought she said she loved us!” and then I pouted for the remainder of the hour. What? I said I was 12.

filling the tins -- you fill it less, okay?

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, December 22, 2011

parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill

parsnip latkes with horseradish, dill

I have this affliction or maybe you could call it a fixation with latkes. And I know you’re probably thinking, potato pancakes? With shredded onion? They’re good, but are they really worth obsessing over? But you’d be using the literal definition of latkes and to me, latkes are not so much a singular recipe with a finite ingredient list but an approach to pancakes; an approach that could include anything that can be shredded and fried. And oh, when you start from this vantage point, they most certainly will.

parnsips, potato -- not pretty yet
shredded

I’ve made potato latkes, sure. Many times, even. But then I made mixed vegetable latkes with Indian spices and curry-lime yogurt. I made apple latkes, replete with a caramel sauce made from the juice you wring from the shredded apples. (I waste nothing in the kitchen. My grandmother would be so proud!) This past summer, I made zucchini fritters to solve a dinner crisis. And now, there’s this: Parsnips. Potatoes. Dill. Horseradish. Lemon juice.

ready to wring out

Continued after the jump »

Monday, December 19, 2011

peppermint hot fudge sauce

peppermint hot fudge sauce

You have all of your holiday shopping done, don’t you? I bet everything is wrapped and in gift bags, and that you know how to tie ribbons into bows without cursing. I suspect everyone but me knows how to… fluff? Is that what they call it? I bet everyone knows how to arrange the tissue paper inside the gift bags so that it looks perfectly festive and even a tad enthusiastic. I have a hunch that your gifts are homemade and hand-lettered; that you made your own cards. Oh, you didn’t? Well, come sit down over here. You’re among friends.

peppermint hot fudge, in parts
ready to melt

I ran to Duane Reade this morning and bought a roll of brown shipping paper and decided at once that the gift wrap theme this year would be “rustic”. I also wiped out the gift bag supply; sorry about that. Then I went home and made my first homemade gift. Yes, I know it is both Hanukah and Christmas week but I don’t like to be rushed. Plus, if you only have time this week to warm hearts and minds with but a single homemade treat, I hardly think this would be an unwelcome choice.

a slow pour

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Monday, December 12, 2011

caesar salad deviled eggs

caesar deviled eggs

I know I told you my days of late have been a blur of butter and a plume of winter spice but I didn’t forget that December is as much about cocktail parties as it is about cookie swaps. And cocktail parties need snacks. They need bacon-wrapped dates and stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail and parmesan biscotti. They need elegant little toasts and spanakopita triangles. And they need deviled eggs. In fact, I’d argue that without deviled eggs, it’s actually no party at all.

the peeling forces were with me
de-bellied yolks

Of course, to make devilled eggs, you need to make peace with peeling hard-boiled eggs and I want to tell you, I’ve spent a lot of time peeling hard-boiled eggs, mostly ineffectively, and have come up with several theories that since I have the mic, I will now bore you and the rest of my audience with:

ready to mash

Continued after the jump »